NPC to study future transport fuels, N. American oil and gas

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu would like the National Petroleum Council to conduct studies on future transportation fuels and on prudent development of North American oil and gas resources, NPC members learned at their Sept. 17 meeting.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 18 -- US Energy Secretary Steven Chu would like the National Petroleum Council to conduct studies on future transportation fuels and on prudent development of North American oil and gas resources, NPC members learned at their Sept. 17 meeting.

“It is the policy objective of the United States to protect our nation from the serious economic and strategic risks associated with our excessive reliance on foreign oil and the destabilizing effects of a changing climate,” Chu said in a Sept. 16 letter to NPC Chairman Claiborne P. Deming, who also is chairman of Murphy Oil Corp.

“All energy uses and supply sources must be reexamined in order to enable the transition toward a lower carbon, more sustainable energy mix. Transitions in the energy sector will require the replacement of vehicles, more efficient buildings and industrial facilities, and large-scale deployment of new forms of energy,” the secretary continued.

For the future transportation fuels study, he asked the council to analyze US auto, truck, air, rail, and waterborne transport fuels prospects through 2030. “The study should address fuel demand, source, manufacturing, distribution, and infrastructure,” he indicated.

“Of particular interest is the council’s advice on policy options and pathways for integrating new fuels and vehicles into the marketplace, including infrastructure development. Factors to consider include technological advances, market dynamics, environmental mandates, cost/benefit tradeoffs, and impacts on land and water use,” Chu said.

For the North American resource development study, he asked NPC to reassess the production supply chain and infrastructure potential, and the contribution that gas can make in a transition to a lower-carbon fuel mix.

“Your study should describe the operating practices and technologies that will be used to minimize environmental impacts, and also describe the role of technology in expanding accessible resources,” Chu said. “Of particular interest is the council’s advice on policy options that would allow prudent development of North American natural gas and oil resources consistent with government objectives of environmental protection, economic growth, and national security.”

He said he was designating Deputy US Energy Secretary Daniel B. Poneman, who addressed NPC at its meeting, to provide the necessary coordination between DOE and the council, as well as provide coordination with the US Departments of the Interior and Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal departments and agencies as required.

In other actions, NPC membership reelected Deming as chairman and Chevron Corp. chief executive David J. O’Reilly as vice-chairman for 1-year terms.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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